1 Kings 22:23
Now therefore, behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets, and the LORD has spoken evil concerning you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) The Lord . . . the Lord.—The emphatic repetition of the Name Jehovah hero is an implied answer to the insinuation of mere malice in 1Kings 22:8; 1Kings 22:18.

1 Kings 22:23. Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put, &c. — It is frequent in the Holy Scriptures to call that the Lord’s doing which he only permits to be done; because he has the supreme direction of all things, and governs the event. Wicked devices proceed from wicked men and wicked spirits: but, that they prevail and take effect, is owing to the hand of God directing and ordering when and where they shall light, and what shall be the issue of them. Hath put a lying spirit into the mouth, &c. — Hath permitted a lying spirit to influence these men. Hath spoken evil concerning thee — Hath decreed that thou shalt perish in this war. It may not be amiss to observe here, that “the evil being, named Satan, was little known to the Jewish people till their captivity; and then this history was taught openly as a security against the doctrine of the two principles. The Jewish lawgiver, where he so frequently enumerates and warns the Israelites of the snares and temptations which would draw them to transgress the law of God, never mentions this capital enemy of heaven. Nay, when the form of that sacred history which Moses composed obliged him to treat of Satan’s first grand machination against mankind, he entirely hides this wicked spirit under the animal which he made his instrument; but, as the fulness of time drew near, they were made more and more acquainted with this their capital enemy. When Ahab, for the crimes and follies of the people, was suffered to be infatuated, we have the account in the words of Micaiah above. Satan is not here recorded by name; and so we must conclude the people were yet to know little of his history: however, this undertaking sufficiently declared his nature.” Div. Leg., vol. 4. p. 279.22:15-28 The greatest kindness we can do to one that is going in a dangerous way, is, to tell him of his danger. To leave the hardened criminal without excuse, and to give a useful lesson to others, Micaiah related his vision. This matter is represented after the manner of men: we are not to imagine that God is ever put upon new counsels; or that he needs to consult with angels, or any creature, about the methods he should take; or that he is the author of sin, or the cause of any man's telling or believing a lie. Micaiah returned not the blow of Zedekiah, yet, since he boasted of the Spirit, as those commonly do that know least of the Holy Spirit's operations, the true prophet left him to be convinced of his error by the event. Those that will not have their mistakes set right in time, by the word of God, will be undeceived, when it is too late, by the judgments of God. We should be ashamed of what we call trials, were we to consider what the servants of God have endured. Yet it will be well, if freedom from trouble prove not more hurtful to us; we are more easily allured and bribed into unfaithfulness and conformity to the world, than driven to them.The difficulties which attach to this passage are considerable. On the one hand, it is hard to suppose one of the holy Angels a "lying spirit;" on the other, hard to find Satan, or an evil spirit, included among "the host of heaven" 1 Kings 22:19 and acting as the minister of God. Still, Job 1:6; Job 2:1, lend countenance to the latter point, and 2 Thessalonians 2:11 to the former. But it may be doubted whether we ought to take literally, and seek to interpret exactly, each statement of the present narrative. Visions of the invisible world can only be a sort of parables; revelations, not of the truth as it actually is, but of so much of the truth as can be shown through such a medium. The details of a vision, therefore, cannot safely be pressed, anymore than the details of a parable. Portions of each must be accommodations to human modes of thought, and may very inadequately express the realities which they are employed to shadow forth to us. 18-23. Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?—Since Ahab was disposed to trace this unwelcome truth to personal enmity, Micaiah proceeded fearlessly to tell the incensed monarch in full detail what had been revealed to him. The Hebrew prophets, borrowing their symbolic pictures from earthly scenes, described God in heaven as a king in His kingdom. And as earthly princes do nothing of importance without asking the advice of their counsellors, God is represented as consulting about the fate of Ahab. This prophetic language must not be interpreted literally, and the command must be viewed as only a permission to the lying spirit (Ro 11:34) [Calmet]. No text from Poole on this verse. Now therefore behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these thy prophets,.... That is, suffered the lying spirit to suggest a lie to them, and sent them strong delusions to believe that lie, whose minds were disposed at any rate to flatter Ahab, to whom they told it; which was the way designed to bring him to the ruin appointed for him:

and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee: he had decreed it in himself, declared it by Micaiah his prophet, and suffered all those steps to be taken by Satan and the false prophets, to bring him to it.

Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
23. The Lord hath put a lying spirit] These words bear out what has been said on 1 Kings 22:21. It was a messenger from Jehovah which led these prophets astray. We are not to conclude from this that it was an evil spirit, or Satan, as some have suggested. Such spirits are not God’s agents. The spirit which here wrought the evil did but foster the false notions which a long course of previous warnings had had no effect in driving away. Now therefore Ahab is given up to them. God sends him ‘a strong delusion, that he should believe a lie’ (2 Thessalonians 2:11). Cf. Psalm 78:49. ‘He sent messengers of evil (not, evil angels) among them’.Verse 23. - Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth Of all these thy [Cf. ὁ; οῖκος ὑμῶν, Matthew 23:38] prophets [This statement, especially to those who have taken the narrative literally, and who have seen in "the spirit" either one of the angels of God, or Satan himself, has presented almost insuperable difficulties. The main difficulty lies in the fact that the Almighty and All Holy is here made to give His sanction to deceit and lying, for the purpose of tempting Ahab to his death. We have precisely the same difficulty, though, if possible, more directly expressed in Ezekiel 14:9: "If the prophet be deceived... I the Lord have deceived that prophet." Cf. Jeremiah 20:7; 1 Samuel 16:15. But this difficulty vanishes if we remember that this is euthropopathic language, and is merely meant to convey that God had "taken the house of Israel in their own heart," because they were "estranged from Him through their idols" (Ezekiel 14:5). Ahab wished to be guided by false prophets, and the justice of God decreed that he should be guided by them to his ruin. Sin is punished by sin. "God proves His holiness most of all by this, that He punishes evil by evil, and destroys it by itself" (Bahr). Ahab had chosen lying instead of truth: by lying - according to the lex talionis - he should be destroyed. The difficulty, in fact, is that of the permission of evil in the world; of the use of existent evil by God to accomplish His purposes of good], and the Lord [not I alone, ver. 18] hath spoken [i.e., decreed] evil concerning thee. Micah's prophecy concerning the war, and his testimony against the lying prophets. - 1 Kings 22:15, 1 Kings 22:16. When Micah had come into the presence of the king, he replied to his question, "Shall we go against Ramoth?" etc., in just the same words as the pseudo-prophets, to show the king how he would speak if he were merely guided by personal considerations, as the others were. From the verbal agreement in his reply, and probably also from the tone in which he spoke, Ahab perceived that his words were ironical, and adjured him to speak only truth in the name of Jehovah. Micah then told him what he had seen in the spirit (1 Kings 22:17): "I saw all Israel scatter itself upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd;" and then added the word of the Lord: "These have no master; let them return every one to his house in peace." That is to say, Ahab would fall in the war against Ramoth in Gilead, and his army scatter itself without a leader upon the mountains of Gilead, and then every one would return home, without being pursued and slain by the enemy. Whilst Zedekiyah attempted to give greater emphasis to his prophecy by symbolically transferring to Ahab's enterprise the success predicted by Moses, Micah, on the other hand, showed to the king out of the law that would really take place in the intended war, namely, that very state of things which Moses before his departure sought to avert from Israel, by the prayer that the Lord would set a man over the congregation to lead them out and in, that the congregation might not become as sheep that have no shepherd (Numbers 27:16-17).
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